Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gary's tale...

It all started when i met Gary while i was waiting at the bus stop. I was heading for the railway station to receive my sister who was coming home from a trip abroad. Gary was my school friend and not having seen him for quite some time i was pretty happy to meet him there. He was an anglo indian and talked his english with a weird accent.

"Hey!", i shouted

He looked equally happy.

"Hi da. Long time no see", his face broke into a weak smile as if he was forcing it.

"yeah...been kind of busy. Too much work at college", i obviously had to lie

" where are you headed?"

"Railway station. My sister is coming from bombay..well..actually from the US"

" how have you been", he didnt seem to be in a hurry and no bus was in sight.

"Well, pretty great actually. you know there - "

He sighed. I stopped and looked at him. He looked forlorn.

"Whats the matter?"

He looked at me and shook his head.

"The last two months have been very bad for me"

"Why what happened?"

"Well, its my..", he stopped himself. He couldnt bring himself to say it,"..err..its Stephanie..she was dying and so i sold her off"

I looked at him shock. Stephanie was his dog - a beautiful black doberman. The
last time i saw her she looked pretty healthy.

"You sold her", i sputtered.

"Yeah. the guy who bought her had no clue that something was wrong with know..she looks pretty good"

I cannot blame the guy. Even i did not know something was wrong. she had been active, healthy and well fed. Well, one never knows.

"What was wrong with her?"

"She just got old. thats all. You know its a wonder she managed to run this long...i maintained her well...but lately she hasnt been that responsive", he said proudly.

"yeah that happens with age", i said sagely, "but poor girl...i liked her a lot"

"Yeah me too", he said with nostalgia, "How many hours of pure pleasure"

I stopped and looked at him. I knew these guys were weird and so let the statement be. Still, pleasure? What the hell did he do with his dog anyway? I didnt ask him that directly and so veiled my question.

"Guess you guys were pretty close. You played around a lot with her", i said.

"Yes. I had got carried away at times and banged her around. And last week...", his eyes misted up but he quickly recovered and smiled.

My eyes fell out of the socket and my face bore a disgusting look. Now i was looking for the bus. I didnt want to be around this sick kid.

"Its ok", i said trying to change the subject, "so hows everyone at home"

He looked at me with sadness again.

Again tears sprang in them."My b..", he stopped as if he didnt want to say that and then smiled a little as he said, "You have met Roger right?"

I nodded thankful that the conversation was moving away from some sick man and dog coupling.

"yeah, a couple of times", i said. Roger was his younger brother. Roger was in class 10. I always had the feeling that he was slightly retarted bacause of the way he used to act around me. He just didnt behave like a tenth standard kid.

"He was becoming a huge know...acting restless and whiny"

I knew it! I had a knack for people. I smelled a rat with that guy long before their family themselves had any clue.

"So", gary continued, "We took him to the doctor. And he said..", he was giving a sly grin,"...said..roger needs some know what i mean"

My mouth was agape. "But but..",words just wouldnt come out

"I know", gary nodded sagely, "its so unreal...and u know my dad was there when the doctor said that..and... it was so uncomfortable"

I would bet my ass it was uncomfortable. What kind of sick doctor advised sex for a restless 10th standard kid?

"and now i have to look around for some bitch who would do it", he continued.

I just stared. By now my head was swimming. I saw a bus approaching from far away and heaved a sigh of relief. Gary saw it too.

"Good. the bus is coming", he said

I remained silent praying that he wasnt headed in the same direction as me. But it was one of those days and as it happened gary was sitting next to me on the bus.

"It really has been a hard month for you", i mused wondering if he was just making this all up just to freak me out as the bus rolled away.

"And you havent even heard the worst man", he said and his eyes welled up with tears.

I suddenly became sympathetic. "What happened?"

Its about Ralph. I was pissed. So much of tears for that!? For a rickety old car. This guy was unbearable. "what about Ralph?", i asked unable to hide the sarcasm in my voice.

"He met with an accident", he sobbed.

"Oh my god!", i was genuinely shocked, "What happened? Who was driving?"

All of us were there but no one else was hurt.

No one else? Except Ralph of course. The stupid car.

"What happened to the car?", i asked

gary stopped sobbing and looked at me with venom.

"The car!? is that what matters to you?", his voice sounded ominously hostile

I was beyond care now. This had gone way past the line and i was going to give a piece of my mind,

"Frankly, i dont give a shit about your stupid car or for that matter about your sex starved kid brother nor the old dying dog you sold. You know why? Coz your family is just a freakshow. You guys should put a tent and run a little circus with your stunts. These are not even real problems and you are sobbing about it? you know what people around you are facing? Do you even have any idea? Do you know how many people are dying of hunger everyday and you are crying about ramming your stupid car somewhere in which no one was even hurt. Do you know how many children are being orphaned every minute and you are worried about finding some 'bitch' whom your brother can bang! I am so disgusted with you gary!", that was perhaps the longest speech i had ever given.

Gary stared at me in shock and then walked over to another empty seat and sat there. I felt free at last. He deserved it. All these people living in their own small world, thinking that they had all the problems. And more importantly i was disgusted to be his friend anymore.

We never talked after that. I would see him a few times in some places but we would just give each other the cold stare or turn our heads away. Then i stopped seeing him around at all. Someone later told me that they had shifted out of town. I didnt hear about him for several years after that when we friends decided to get together after a long time. Gary was not there - not that i cared, though. After a couple of rounds of beer some one thought about Gary.

"The poor guy", vignesh mused
I sat there still feeling the hatred i felt several years before on that bus ride.
"What now? Is he humping gorillas?", i asked with a chuckle.
Everyone stopped and stared at me.
"What?", Kartik asked
"You guys dunno? He used to hump his dog man. He is one sick son of a bitch!", i was drunk and i hated him.
"What da hell are you talking about! He is one of the most pious christians i've ever see", mused Kartik
I looked at him patronisingly. He obviously didnt know Gary's true colours.
"Its a shame that such a big tragedy befell their family", Arun said
"What tragedy?", i was getting sober by the moment.
"You dont know?!! Ralph's death?"

Some thing akin to a bolt of lightning passed through me

"What? Ralph?", i tried jogging my memory to action, "his car?"

"No you idiot", it was vignesh, "Ralph was his brother. He was in the ICU for an year and then died. They shifted after that."

"No!", i just couldnt accept this. They were wrong,"You losers! Roger was his brother"

"Roger was his dog u ass", kartik shouted

"Wasnt his dog Stephanie?", i was sounding milder by the moment

"No that was what that guy named his stupid car"
, kartik laughed...

I wasnt laughing.

I remembered the day clearly. Me screaming at Gary. He walking away and then getting down a couple of stops before the railway station. I remembered looking out of the window and staring at the huge white building on the other side of the road which read "Apollo hospitals". Then the bus had moved on. I never did see Gary walk into the building to visit his brother who was in a coma.

Tears welled up in my eyes.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

'Bunker' reminiscences - 1

I have always been a 'bunker'. My mom tells me stories about how as a kid (i am talking about the KGs here), i used to run back home for lunch and have a peaceful siesta for the rest of the afternoon while the school carried on.

Over time, all addictions get worse. Michael jackson wouldnt stop fondling little boys, the bush family wouldnt stop obsessing with iraq, the indian politicians couldnt stop being corrupt and i continued bunking. However with age comes more challenges. School provided quite a few of them. If there was one thing my school management did, it was to cook up elaborate disincentives to bunking classes like flogging and electric treatment. Kidding! But to put it in any investor's words "It was a highly skewed risk-return structure". Thankfully, when it comes to bunking classes i am a risk lover. I had to bunk. It was an addiction. I made it through school with sufficient number of bunks (not at will though) to keep me going. Of course, my as-of-yet-unmeasured-but-exceptionally-high IQ helped me cook up a plethora of valid excuses like an unbelievable headache that showed all indications of a potentially life killing virus, an exam the day after which i was sure to fail and my career doomed for ever if did not have a day off or a heavy downpour which i was sure was an acid rain (after i learnt it in social science class) that could potentially kill me. And it didnt help my ego one bit as i rattled off excuses to convince my gullible mom into letting me stay at home and then conjuring much more valid excuses for my school principal. On hindsight, its apparent that although she saw through my excuses she just let me have my fun.

And then there were those special days - sports days, school days, independence days. If there is one thing i am the most thankful to god, it was my small, thin frame back in those days. I could scale and slip through the small gaps in fences, scale up walls and generally remain anonymous and merge with the sourroundings with elan. Any commando would be proud of me. As a sorry school parade marched in the burning sun with its off beat trumpet and weak drumming, i would be busy compromising the facility, wriggling my way through one small opening out of the school ground. If ever there was a character narrating my life as Red does in Shawshank redemption, he would have a climax every so often. I was a free men at so many times a year as i proudly walked away from the school grounds thinking 'What now?'

College was a turning point in my bunking career. For once, i was in total control. No more stupid excuses. But with control came responsibility. You see, although i am addicted to bunking, i never let it screw up anything for me. College managements are better at laying down your disincentives. You can bunk 25% of the classes, not more, they said. Now i had to set up elaborate bunk management policies to control and allocate bunks through the calender year. Now, not only did i have to control the allocation across time but i also had to have buffers for contingencies like when a section of the class decides to bunk and go for movies. Solid planning was called for. It was good but not very exciting.

The real excitement started when i joined the 'Marks and Spencer' account in Cognizant Technology Solutions.... be continued

An Index Into My Mind - recent posts

witnessing a recent spurt of incoherent and imaginative writing....

One conspiracy theory that never fails to thrill me....

November 3 2006

The sweet notes of a distant music surrounded the place. The heavy night sky smelled of an impending rain. Thunder clouds added a complementing bass to the distant music. Lightning provided the fireworks.
A small boy - about 10 years old walked up the steep incline of a grassy knoll. A fragile silhoutte against the residual night light, climbing steadily.......

read on - Rendezvous...

one of those stories where you start writing and end up with something u hadnt planned....

It was to be a cladestine 'job'.
Only 2 people in the world knew about it and they didnt know about each other.
Each guy knew that one another guy was involved but didnt know who.
The stakes were high.
It was about revenge.....

read on - The 'job'

Ah...a truly white canvas to paint a story on...

It was all white.

Am i dreaming?

I look around. Spotless white and no shapes around.

Am i awake?

I look down at where i stand. All white.

What is this place?

read on - The most logical story ever told.

Friday, November 03, 2006


November 3 2006,

The sweet notes of a distant music surrounded the place. The heavy night sky smelled of an impending rain. Thunder clouds added a complementing bass to the distant music. Lightning provided the fireworks.

A small boy - about 10 years old walked up the steep incline of a grassy knoll. A fragile silhoutte against the residual night light, climbing steadily. A big flash of lightning struck the apex of the knoll but the boy carried on. His face was set in determination. He had a job to do and quick.

Midway through the climb he stopped to catch his breath. The first drops of rain started and a freezing wind had also picked up. Up from here, he could see the lights of the village he had left behind. He would never see them again. He stared at the comforting warmth of the huts glowing yellow and felt home sick. But he had a job to do and quick.

A huge thunder growled in the distance. He almost felt the ground shake. It was coming. He began to jog his way up the little hill.

He didnt have a left arm. They had to amputate it when it got infected when he was only 6. The doctors didnt know what it was. It was a completely new strain of bacteria. More deadly than anything anyone had ever seen. He still remembered those horrifying times. His mom's tear streaked face. His father's drunken sobs. He also remembered the time when his father died 6 months later leaving them with no income. He died from a uknown lung infection. Around 100 people in his village died that month. He remembered everything clearly.

Another rumble. This time closer and louder. It was coming and he began to run. He reached the apex of the hill, blood pumping through his veins and out of breath. He stood there waiting. It would be here anytime now.

He waited for a long time. Waited until the first rays of the sun washed the sky with a brilliant orange glow. It never came. He sat there dissapointed. Tears welled up his eyes as he rose up to walk back to the village. As he walked back he thought about that night 4 years ago when he met IT for the first time. IT had said, "I will come tomorrow. At the same time. Wait for me at the grassy knoll" He had been waiting for the last 4 years.

He reached the village and walked towards his hut. His mother was still asleep as he walked to the corner of the hut and snuggled into the mattress. He would again go tomorrow.

Newspaper articles clipped

A small bit on page 15 of an indian english newspaper...

Strange sightings over remote indian village
March 8, 2000

Residents of the remote indian village Amaravati reported strange lights and sounds yesterday evening. Several village women rushed out shouting 'The devil has come' to witness a strange spectacle on the sky. The metereological department denied any cosmic activity in the region. However....

Translated from a marathi newspaper

Strange bacterial infection spreads across Amaravati
March 15, 2000

The unknown bacterial infection began to spread across the remote village of Amaravati. This deadly infection has already claimed 3 lives....

A small section in a hindi tabloid...

Boy loses arm, Claims he saw a 'strange creature'
April 2, 2000

The deadly bacterial infection that is continuing to affect the Amaravati village has taken its toll on the Yogesh, a 6 year old boy from Amaravati. His left arm was amputated after it was severly infected by a hitherto unknown strain of bacteria - a variant of the one spreading across the village. Scientists comjecture that it must be a mutated version of some known bacteria although they are yet to figure out structural or behavioral similarities with existing strains. Meanwhile, in what could be called a scene straight out of Speiberg's 'ET' the boy claims that the infections were spread by strange creatures who came 'that night last month'. The boy claims that he talked to one of the creatures and refers to it as his friend. This has led doctors to believe that the bacteria could have also affected the brain leading to delusions.....

The 'Job'

It was to be a cladestine 'job'.
Only 2 people in the world knew about it and they didnt know about each other.
Each guy knew that one another guy was involved but didnt know who.
The stakes were high.
It was about revenge.
Easy to comprehend ; difficult to execute.

Each guy had a part to play.
Alpha thought he was the Executor.
Beta thought he was the decoy.
Only those two knew about the job.

The target was a human. Very high profile. Very secure.
The location was in the heart of the Indian capital.
The time: mid day.

Alpha was an excellent sniper.
Beta was an explosives expert.
Alpha thought beta led the operations wile Beta thought alpha did.

The day came.
Alpha decided where to snipe from. He knew Beta would provide the diversion.They didnt need to talk.
Beta decided how to provide the decoy. A small explosion would do.
Beta rigged the road where the convoy passed through and left.
Alpha set himself up for a snipe.

The explosion occured at 12:03 PM.
Beta had failed. The target was destroyed. That hadnt been the intention.
Alpha waited for the redirected convoy.
It never came.
Alpha knew that Beta had failed.
Alpha decided to abort.

Beta knew he was doomed.
The plan had failed.
Alpha would now be pissed.
He decided to kill himself.

Alpha went back to the 'hole'
He couldnt extract his revenge.
Beta was there waiting for him.
Beta had failed him.
Beta had to be killed.

Beta had a gun. It had one bullet.
Alpha had a gun. It had one bullet.
They aimed.
They shot.
Both hit the targets.
Both fell down dead.

Hours later secret service would find that the ex-prime minister's assasin had commited suicide in a 'hole'.

The man who had set up a bomb.
The man who had then waited atop a building for a convoy that never came.

The man who had had his revenge yet failed to comprehend it.
The man who killed himself.

The most logical story ever told.

1. This is purely a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely hallucination.
2. This is not for people who are inflexible when it comes to time, space and universe.
3. Not for colour blind people.


It was all white.

Am i dreaming?

I look around. Spotless white and no shapes around.

Am i awake?

I look down at where i stand. All white.

What is this place?

It all seamlessly merged into a world of white. It appeared as if i had been thrown bang in the middle of a unpainted canvas. I shifted one leg. It moved. Phew! I could move. I walked forward and then stopped. It didnt matter. I was in a space of whiteness. It seemed to stretch into infinity so there was no point walking. I wasnt going anywhere. I suddenly remember that it was time for my meeting with my boss and look at my watch. It had stopped. Of course, what else did i expect. I was beginning to get increasingly frustrated with my inability to do anything about my situation and decide to shout. My mouth opens but no voice came out. This was when i grew claustrophobic, ironically, in what was apparently an infinite space. I began to panic and started to run. I even didnt know if i was running for there was nothing relative to move with. It was just vast emptiness of white. But i kept running until i no longer could and stood gasping for breath.

The falling

A spot of red?

I walk upto the small spot of red on the floor. God! First colour. It seemed like the painter had let one small drop drip although it was a perfect round indicating that it had been put there intentionally. Not knowing what to do i crouch down and touch it. I was dissapointed when nothing happened. For the next 5 minutes i tried all possible ways of activitating some hidden mechanism that i assumed that the spot controlled. Then i ran again. This time a much shorter distance before i came across a blue dot exactly like the red one. I again ran. But just about 20 steps before the green dot.

I stopped to catch my breath. Ahead of me i could spot another red spot. I walked over to it. This one was bigger than the last one. About the size of my fist; again perfectly round. I was beginning to get tired of this and hungry too. So i sit down next to the red spot tired and hungry. I begin to lazily fiddle around with the red spot trying to dig it using my nails when suddenly it catches fire. But the fire is so beautiful. perfectly shaped like a leaf and unwavering. It looks like a solid leafy yellow projecting upwards from the ground.And i know its fire coz it had burnt my finger when it started. I sit there blowing my finger and wondering where in the world i was.

When the fire stopped the red spot was a black spot. when i place my hand on it i realise it is rather a hole.

Should i risk putting my hand in? What if the fire starts again?

After pondering for a few seconds i quickly thrust my hands inside hoping to meet some end. My hand touches water. What the ! I suddenly realise that the water level is rising and pull my hand out to watch water begin to overflow the hole and flow over the white surface. I scoop up a handfull of water and sip. Its fresh water. Atleast i can quench my thirst. Once i had quenched my thirst i realise that the water level is rising. How was it possible in an infinte space? I begin to run forward again. I see bigger spots flying by me. Soon they are the size of a large elephant. I hope no fire breaks out from these as i run past them. Then i suddenly stop over a blue spot and jump. The entire floor begins to go in. Almost like an elevator. The blue spotted zone drops through a cavern of whiteness and lands me in another white space exactly like the one i had come from. Only again absolutely white and no dots. However there is another person here. It was me.

He who is me

I stand there dumbfounded. He who is me is looking at me in equal shock. He (I) comes to me and touches me and says "You're real?"

I nod and say "So are you..."

It was all white.

"Am i dreaming?" , He says

He looks around. Spotless white and no shapes around.

"Am i awake?", he says

He looks down at where he stands. All white.

"What is this place?", he asks

For me, its like watching a rewound tape of myself all over again. I could see him trying to move his legs in an attempt to move and then walk. He stops realising that there is nothing to move relative to.

"Run", i say hoping to help him. He looks confused. "Where?"

"Run. Run to the blue spot. The big blue spot. If you are thirsty rub the red spot and a fire erupts. Wait for it to finish and then there will be a hole. You will find water inside."

He looks at me like i am mad and then starts running. I see myself fade away into distant whiteness and think what now. So i sit down and think. I had apparently entered a parallel white universe and might be hopefully altering the future by telling myself what to do. As i sit there something weird happens. A large blue spot begins to emerge right under me. I stand up in shock and wonder what its all about. It continues to grow in size, bigger than an elephant, to about the size of a football field. As i stand there i see another figure come running from the oppsite side. It was me!! I had made a full circle. Was it a circle after all ? He (me) comes to me and asks "How did you cross me?"

I smile and say, "Magic!" before jumping on the big blue spot. Nothing happens. I keep jumping and the other me looks at me quizzically. Suddenly i realise something and ask,
"Didnt you drop down that elephant sized blue hole?"
"What blue hole?", he asks, "This is the first colour i am seeing in this fuckin place", he seems positively stressed.

"Ok", i say confused, "Jump when i tell you to. One, two..three", we jumped

The floor dropped and it dropped for a long time through a football field sized cavern. I looked at my watch. What the hell! 3 hours had elapsed since i had been thrown into this world. i thought it didnt work. The seconds hand remained still. Maybe the watch had stopped 3 hours later in this parallel universe. We finally land up in a large green area. I look around and find no sign of the other me. I was just outside my garage - on the lawns. I rise up.


Was it all a dream? I look at my watch and it reads 12:05 PM. I had walked out of my house at 12:08. I had just travelled back in time by 3 seconds? I look at the door of my house. Where did the other guy go? I look around but find no trace of anyone else. I still cant hear any sounds and so i walk into my house. Its so surreal. I cant hear anyone talking. No one seems to be noticing me. I was a ghost and it was deathly silent. I walk into my bed room and stand there slowly losing my mind. Then walked out of the house and stood in the lawns before my garage. I looked at the watch 12:08 PM.

Then it was all white.

I knew what to do. I ran.